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Moscow Voices Hope Iran Won't Quit Nuclear Deal

  • RFE/RL

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) and Iranian President Hassan Rohani (file photo)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Moscow hopes Iran will not quit the agreement reached in 2015 with world powers to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most economic sanctions.

Lavrov spoke on August 16 after Iranian President Hassan Rohani's warning the previous day that Tehran could abandon the deal "within hours" if the United States imposed any more new sanctions.

"Regarding President Rohani's statement that Iran may quit the [agreement] that was signed to resolve the situation around the Iranian nuclear program, I hope that won't happen," Lavrov said.

Lavrov also said he hopes the United States will not violate its obligations under the nuclear deal with Iran, and criticized U.S. sanctions on Iran.

"I think unilateral sanctions... are irresponsible actions that can hurt and undermine the balance achieved," he said.

Rohani had also said that U.S. President Donald Trump, who has imposed several rounds of new sanctions on Iran, is "not a good partner" because he repeatedly threatened to walk away from the agreement.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said on August 15 that the new U.S. sanctions were unrelated to the nuclear deal.

Haley added that Iran was trying to "hold the world hostage" by threatening it might abandon the 2015 nuclear agreement on short notice.

She said Tehran must be held responsible for "its missile launches, support for terrorism, disregard for human rights, and violations of UN Security Council resolutions."

"Iran cannot be allowed to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage," Haley said.

Haley added that "Iran, under no circumstances, can ever be allowed to have nuclear weapons."

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on August 15 insisted that Washington was in full compliance with its side of the nuclear agreement.

Nauert also said Washington was reviewing its policy toward Iran and that it believes the nuclear deal didn't put an end to Tehran's other "destabilizing activities" in the region.

Trump once again asserted earlier this month that Iran is not "living up to the spirit" of the nuclear deal, which he described as a "horrible agreement."

The accord with world powers gave Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear activities.

U.S. and UN watchdogs monitoring compliance with the agreement have found Iran has adhered to the deal.

With reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and IRNA
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